Former fried chicken joint may soon serve Macbeth and Equus
Station North and The Annex Theater to transform New York Fried Chicken into office, theatre and gallery space
"The deep-fat fryers haven’t sizzled for years at the corner of North Avenue and Charles Street, but something is cooking in the building where New York Fried Chicken (and before that, a White Tower restaurant) once operated.
The City of Baltimore is leasing the former greasy-spoon storefront to Station North Arts & Entertainment Inc. and the Baltimore Annex Theater.
If the project gets the renovation funding it needs through grants and a recently-launched Kickstarter campaign, organizers say that a power-hungry Scottish King and a boy obsessed with horses could soon be among the theatrical characters performing where short-order cooks once produced three-piece wing-and-thigh specials.
“Equus I think we’ll stage right there,” the Annex’s artistic director Evan Moritz said yesterday, pointing past a plastic menu sign showing the prices for “Lake Trout Fish,” “Shrimps,” “Sweet Potato Pie” and other items. “The stage will project out like a knife.”
For the past decade, attention has focused on the idea of redeveloping a larger, more highbrow building next door – the ornate-but-crumbling Parkway Theatre, also owned by the city. But caught in the cycle of government deal-making and deal-breaking, the Parkway project has been stalled for years.
Now Station North is looking at the humbler structure next door, New York Fried that’s been closed since 2009, to give this key corner a quick lift.
“Like all development projects [the Parkway] is going to take a while,” said Ben Stone, Station North’s executive director. “I proposed we do something in the interim to activate this intersection. . . I was frustrated.”
They negotiated a one-year, one-dollar lease for the New York Fried building at 1 West North Avenue, with an option to renew for another year.